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Ukraine’s judicial reform may help thousands of felons get away with murder

October 10, 11:47 UTC+3 KIEV

According to the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, the law enforcement agencies will have to close 19,721 murder cases

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© AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

KIEV, October 10. /TASS/. Ukrainian law enforcement officers will be compelled to halt investigations of almost 20,000 murder cases due to amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code as part of the country’s judicial reform, Ukraine’s Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios said on Tuesday.

"According to the amendments introduced by [member of Verkhovna Rada Andrey] Lozovoy concerning the period of pre-trial investigation, the law enforcement agencies, namely, the police, the Security Service of Ukraine (the SBU) and the prosecutor’s office will have to close 19,721 murder cases," he told the Zik TV channel.

Matios added that, because of these amendments, criminal charges will be dropped in 31,000 car theft cases, while about 550,000 theft and robbery cases will not be investigated thoroughly. "That is, all those who committed crimes up to this moment will get off scot-free because of Lozovoy who voted that way," he emphasized.

On October 3, Ukraine’s Verkhona Rada (parliament) approved a bill on amending the procedural legislation as part of its judicial reform. Lawmaker Lozovoy introduced the amendment to the document, which stipulates amending Section 219 of Ukraine’s Criminal Procedure Code in terms of reducing the period of pre-trial investigations. In particular, the term of pre-trial investigations into felonies or first-degree felonies from the moment the suspect’s identification is established to the point of pressing charges will be limited to six months. Currently the maximum duration for such investigations can be up to 15 years.

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